Northwest Arizona and Southeast Nevada Sights

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Christmas Tree Pass Road Review

Christmas Tree Pass Road is a dirt road that provides a gorgeous drive through the Lake Mead National Recreation Area to an extensive petroglyph site in Grapevine Canyon. This side route runs 16 mi through a desert landscape sacred to several historical and modern native tribes. The pass cuts through the rough-cut Newberry Range near legendary Spirit Mountain, with several turnouts (but no designated hiking trails) before the Grapevine Canyon trail. It's the kind of drive you imagined when you bought your grocery-getter SUV, but one that also should make sedan drivers extremely wary. Sedans can take a shorter, easier route to the Grapevine Canyon trail by instead approaching from the Laughlin side (U.S. 163), which reduces the dirt-and-gravel drive to two of its easier miles. The Grapevine trail has a parking lot with latrines (no running water) and a quarter-mile walk to the springs, which served as the central gathering point for Yuman- and Numic-speaking tribes, whose messages are etched on the canyon boulders. It's a more pleasant walk in the winter, when more water is usually channeling through the canyon. The trail around the springs also offers a chance to see desert wildflowers and blooming cacti in spring and early summer. The drive reconnects with U.S. 163 15 mi northwest of Laughlin.

Updated: 05-15-2013

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